No thanks to the liberal revolution

Ian Gilmour

  • The Economic Legacy 1979-1992 edited by Jonathan Michie
    Academic Press, 384 pp, £25.00, March 1992, ISBN 0 12 494060 9
  • The Godley Papers: Economic Problems and Policies in the 1980s and 90s by Wynne Godley
    New Statesman and Society, £2.00
  • Full Employment in the 1990s by John Grieve Smith
    Institute for Public Policy Research, 68 pp, £7.50, March 1992, ISBN 1 872452 48 5

For thirty years after the war Britain had full employment, stable (if slow) growth, low inflation, and a welfare state that was widely admired. And it was common ground that governments could and should provide those things. Since the mid-Seventies, all that has changed. The norm for unemployment has risen five or sixfold from about half a million to nearly three million; growth is slow and uneven, inflation is stubbornly higher than in the early post-war period; the provision of public services has markedly deteriorated; and new disparities in the distribution of income and wealth have opened up. Instead of being shocked by these changes, many people seem disposed to think that they are all for the good, or, at least, that there is nothing that can be done about them.

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